How to Be a High-Impact Franchise Coach
Last week, we took a look at Coaching and Franchisee Relationships, and why it is so important to create real connections with the franchisees whom we serve. This week, we are going to dig a little deeper so we can learn about a few key ways to create beautiful relationships in franchise coaching. Everything I recommend here I have lived myself – so this article contains no ivory tower or theorizing – just hands-on life experience.
Even at the best of times, it is very hard to be a good listener. In fact, studies show that we only remember between 25-50% of what we hear. In franchising, each owner brings their own strengths to the table because owning a franchise is typically a second career (or third, or fourth!)
In some cases, a franchisee may be a natural salesperson, whereas in others, they may be solid on the operations side. No matter what, listening actively is key to building a great relationship. As the quote from Maya Anjelou goes “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It actually takes a lot of concentration to be deliberate in truly listening to what the other person is saying. Here are some tips:
- Give them your undivided attention. Put your phone away and if you are remote and you are taking notes, it is a good courtesy to let them know that that is what the typing sound is. Also – sometimes it is hard to resist imagining rebuttals while someone else is speaking – try to avoid that.
- Let them know that you are listening by using body language or words of encouragement.
- Provide feedback by reflecting what you have heard. Your goal is to understand what is said as much as possible, so clarifying is a good thing.
- Respond appropriately – be candid and open in your response, while asserting your opinions respectfully. Treat the other person the way you think he or she would like to be treated. Often, when you are really listening, the speaker may think that you are agreeing with them, so if you are disagreeing, be sensitive in your delivery.
Active listening, and seeking to understand first is the foundation of a great coaching relationship.
Co-creating projects with franchisees is the single best way to get buy-in on initiatives. Not only is it possible for you to roll out your projects more successfully, but when skillfully done, it will also help you build stronger and more effective initiatives. Here are three neat examples of co-creation in a franchise environment:
- For a franchisee microsite project, I created a special “committee” of franchisees who wanted to be involved. We met on a regular basis to see what sections would be most important and what content they would like as a default. The committee included key members of the Franchise Advisory Board, so if people disagreed with decisions, it was a “franchise built” idea.
- For a book written by the franchisor, we created a special voting platform for people to submit ideas, and up-vote and down-vote the ones submitted by their peers for the title. Then, we took the most popular 5 and created a Google Display campaign out of them, letting the CTR on the campaign determine the most successful result. Instead of it being a “top-heavy” home office initiative, it was grass-roots, with the analytics help decide the winner. For the cover art, we used Crowdspring to generate ideas, and got Franchise Advisory Council members to vote on them. Additionally, different franchisees from around the world wrote chapters for the book.
- When introducing Google AdWords for the first time, I got franchisees to brainstorm on text creative. We created some ads, ran them, then circled back showing which ones were successful. We were a tightly-knit organization, so we even had franchisees and managers place “friendly bets” such as snacks or drinks on which one will prove most successful in the campaign.
Active Listening and Co-Creation are just two ideas on how to enhance engagement. Next week, we will look at a couple of more interesting ideas to enhance your coaching impact.
Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.
Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.